Deer shape the future of our forests. What they find appetizing, or unpalatable, can determine which plants survive and thrive. Forests with abundant deer can suffer from selective feeding on woody plants during winter months when other food is limited. This can result in the loss of seedlings and saplings, dominance by invasive species, and shifts in the tree species that make up the next generation of forest canopy.
The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies will host a virtual presentation exploring how deer influence forest health in the region, on February 16th.
This virtual event will cover the history of deer in the Catskills, how deer influence the composition and health of the regional forests, and strategies to mitigate deer impacts. Presenters include forest ecologist Dr. Charles Canham (Cary Institute), ecologist Dr. Lynn Christenson (Vassar College), and deer biologist Brendan Quirion (NYS DEC Region 3).
Topics to be discussed include how deer populations have changed over the last 100 years as land has become reforested and hunting pressure has declined, what loss of woody cover and the herbaceous layer means for forests and wildlife, management options, and ways that landowners can help promote healthy forest regeneration.
This event is free and open to the public. A Q&A session moderated by Cary President and Director of the Catskill Science Collaborative Josh Ginsberg will follow the presentations.
Registration is required, and can be completed online.
Photo of white-tail deer in winter courtesy SUNY-ESF.